Traditionally the summer run of baby black marlin arrive on the Gold Coast the week before Christmas. This time they turned up two weeks early in numbers that will make everyone forget about 2006’s abysmal season.
The Moreton Trench started to fire at the same time but the fish seemed to bypass the Sunshine Coast. The Sunshine Coast’s steady stream of fish in November failed to live up to the numbers experienced in December on the Gold Coast. The fish might have picked up different currents or followed the bait until they turned up west of Hutchinson Shoal, or places further north.
In early January a good bite started at the top of Fraser Island so let’s keep our fingers crossed that another wave of fish is on its way. Hopefully these fish will decide to call the Sunshine Coast home for a couple of weeks on their way south.
The Fraser grounds were pretty barren by usual Fraser Island standards when we were there for the Albermarle Hervey Bay Boat Club Gamefish Club Classic. Local Sunshine Coast Kevlacat Tanjian has been making the most of their sneaky trips across the bar and are tagging lots marlin and sailfish each trip.
I have just come off a great session in the Trench aboard the Sunshine Coast Gamefish Club vessel Ymer, a 34’ Black Watch. It was a day of firsts for two of our anglers when Scott Baker from Kingaroy scored his first marlin tagged and released and 9-year-old Daniel Brooks angled his first, second and third marlin, which were tagged and released successfully, including one on 6kg line.
Most SEQ tournament anglers fish 8kg line as a perfectly matched size line to the typical run of 20kg fish we see over summer, but club members often fish lighter line classes to hone their skills or accrue higher club points. We ended up with Daniel on our lightest rod at one stage with Lee ‘Serial Fisher’ Bradford driving. This was Lee’s first go at driving a diesel game boat with twin propellers and twin throttles but he picked it up pretty quickly and the fish was successfully tagged for Daniel.
The Powercat Marine Bribie Island Gamefish Club 21st Tournament of Champions was held on 4-7 January and I should have the results next month. The results of the 20-21 January Gold Coast Gamefish Club Riviera Light Tackle Masters held again at Hope Harbour Resort will also be known by then.
The first weekend of February will see the Sunshine Coast Gamefish Classic held at the Kawana Waters Hotel. In this tournament, heavy tackle fish tagged in waters greater than 150m and with line greater than 15kg breaking strain are worth three times the points of a light tackle billfish tagged on 8kg line. It then becomes a tactical decision as to whether you concentrate on the numbers game of light tackle fish or go to the shelf and target lesser numbers of blue marlin but hope you get enough to see your points get you through. Other species such as dolphinfish and wahoo that go greater than the breaking strain of the line class are also qualify for points so the tournament can come down to mere grams.
Later in the month is traditionally the Little Ship Gamefish Club Yamaha Lees Industries Gamefish Classic held out of the One Mile at Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island. This is a great light tackle/heavy tackle tournament. It will be interesting to see if the hot bite is at the Gold Coast, the Moreton Island Trench, Point Lookout or the Sunshine Coast.
The Surfers Paradise Gamefish Club All Tackle All Species Couran Tournament is scheduled for 17-18 March. This ultra-light, light, medium and heavy tackle tournament includes inshore and offshore categories. There are trophies for most things in this tournament. Easter will see the Mooloolaba Gamefish Club’s Billfish Bonanza and April/May should see the Gold Coast Gamefish Club Heavy Tackle Tournament conducted once again.
Just a reminder to tournament or club anglers who fish to GFAA/QGFA rules to check that their gear complies with the rules. Some tournaments now check the gear any fish has been caught on with a few teams having fish disqualified due to technical breaches over lengths of leaders, hook placement and the like. This is a good move so anglers fishing far flung tournaments all over the globe or even just Australian tournaments are familiar with gear scrutiny. Some of the bigger tournaments overseas even have IGFA certified observers aboard to make sure you are doing the right thing, not just the big money $1,000,000 jackpot tournaments either. The IGFA Rolex Offshore Championships at Cabo San Lucas in May is not a big money tournament but the observers are there as it is still a very prestigious tournament to win.
Scott Baker on the right with his first black marlin assisted by Lee Bradford aboard Ymer.
If there is anything that gets the heart pumping like a black taking to the air, it must be bloody good fun!Reads: 2010